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China's zero-tariff treatment gains wide acclaim

Source:   Time:

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's decision to grant zero-tariff status to some least developed countries (LDCs) has drawn positive responses from the international community.

During the recently concluded G-20 summit in Cannes and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Honolulu, President Hu Jintao announced that China would give duty-free status to 97 percent of the tariff items of exports to China from the LDCs, provided they have diplomatic relations with his country.

The decision was deemed by the international community as one of China's practical actions to help the LDCs and was believed to promote healthy development of global trade.

Affected by the current economic crisis, LDCs' total exports dropped from 176.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 to 156.3 billion in 2010, according to Zeljka Kozul-Wright, an economist with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Afghanistan, known for its carpets, leather products and dry fruits, has suffered numerous barriers when exporting its products to international markets, Waheedullah Ghazi Khil, a apokesman for the commerce and industry minister, told Xinhua.

"China's tariff reduction and exemption will further enhance the economic exchanges between Afghanistan and China and benefit the economic growth, reconstruction and development of the war-torn Afghanistan," he said.

Azrakhsh Hafizi, a member of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Xinhua that China has a large domestic consumer market. Tariff reductions and exemptions from China will expand Afghanistan's exports, helping promote the domestic economy of the Central Asian country.

As the world's largest developing country, China has taken measures such as forgiving debt and openning market to support the LDCs' economy and share with them the achievement of the development.

China is among the first developing countries to give zero-tariff treatment to the LDCs. Since 2001, China has gradually opened its market to the world's 41 poorest countries by granting zero tariffs to certain goods

Kozul-Wright said most of the LDCs and developing countries sport trade deficits but their trade with China has generally maintained surpluses for eight consecutive years. The trade surplus of the LDCs to China reached 18.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2010.

To open markets to the LDCs is also a commitment from the Chinese government to push forward the Doha Round negotiations and achieve agreements on the LDCs issues, which have demonstrated China's image as a responsible developing power.

Valentine Sendanyoye Rugwabiza, the WTO deputy director-general, said China has set an example in helping the LDCs.

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